It was 1 p.m. as I parked my scooter in front of the barbershop, removed my helmet, untangle my hair with fingers then put the hair in a bun. My hair was really a mess; it has grown really long, well past my breast. I normally kept my hair 2’ below shoulders, but I couldn’t get it cut for a long time. It is black, thick. The barbershop was in front of me, the same shop where my father used to take me when I was child before summer and buzz all hair in name of summer cut, beside it the parlor opposite to it the parlor where I visit now.
I entered the shop, and was pleased to see the same barber, Sunil there, he too was glad. He said, “After many years Rima, how are you?” I replied, “I am fine, how are you old man? And its 17 years since I visited this place” he said, “you came last when you were 12” I corrected him, “no I was 13, I remember my last buzz precisely”. I took the seat in the waiting area, as my daughter Priya got up to the barber’s chair. The barber placed a cape around her and started combing her shoulder length hair. Then he asked, “What to do?” I replied, “Give her a pretty short haircut” he asked, “summer cut?” I replied, “No, no not summer cut, no need to buzz her hair. Keep her hair long at front, buzz at back and sides only”
As he started snipping Priya’s hair, t got up and said, “Sunil, I have to get my own haircut, when Priya’s haircut is complete please take care of her, I am going to the parlor opposite this shop” he replied, “okay, no problem, I was actually going to ask to you to cut your hair, oh so long” I touched my bun and said, “yeah I didn’t intended to grow it long” and then turned to Priya, “remain here with Sunil uncle, I will be back” she replied, “please remain, you go after my haircut” I said, “but it closes at 1:30, I have to go honey” she started tantrum, “no mommy, you have to wait, I will go with you” Priya, a well behaved good-natured girl’s sudden outburst stopped me, as I again sit on the waiting chair. I told Sunil to do her hair fast.
After it was complete, he started dusting her. Then I saw the Parlor worker closing the parlor on opposite side of road. I knew I missed my haircut today also. Sunil uncapped her, I was taking out money to pay him when he said “you are next” I said, “No, I will get on other day” but he was persistent, “I do long hair don’t worry, you were a customer” I said,” I have trust on you, it is just you know a barbershop and I , I didn’t had haircut in barbershop for long time” he pushed, “common, take the seat” even Priya pushed me, “Mommy, you really need a cut”
I took the seat, after a long time. He covered me with a white cloth cape. It revived my old memories. He then opened my bun, and took a comb and combing my hair from root to tips. He said, “Your tips are really damaged, at least 5 inches has to be taken off” “I know” I said as I saw my face on the mirror. I have the same horror face as I had when father used to take me here. He then said, “I am taking of 6 inches, is it okay?” as he took scissor in hand. I said after a hesitation, “I want summer cut”
He responded after sometime, “Did I hear summer cut?” nodded. He continued, placing the scissor in the drawer, “are you serious?” I replied, “look I hated summer cut, but, but it was a part of my identity, I want to live that part once again, I want to revive my felling.
He then again took the comb and comb once again, and said, “Zero guard” I replied in, “number 1 guard please”. He then took the scissor, placed in my neck, as he used to do, and then schhh.chhhhhhh….chchchhhh, my tresses started sliding to floor. The only difference is that locks are now much longer in length, about 12 inches, it used to be 2-4 inches when I was a child. Priya was watching with attention my hair; her eyes were fixed on my hair. He then again chopped 1-2 inches of hair. He then took out an electric clipper without any guard. I knew the most interesting part was coming. He attached number 1 guard and switched it on. He bends my head forward, placed left hand on the back of my head, placed the clipper on top of head and ran it toward my face.
I had a strange tingly feeling in my abdomen, my muscles tightened. Mass of my butchered hair; fell on my lap, all black and shiny. He then again placed the clipper to little side of clipped area as again my hair showered on my lap, I felt my thighs quiver, my breath become rapid. He continued this, filling my lap with my hair. He then moved to sides, as hair started to fall on floor. He did the same thing with my right side. I saw my face on the mirror. All my hair in front was clipped off, but I can see my hair at back from back mirror. He placed the clipper at the lower end of back, and ran it towards the top I felt that I was sucked inside, as my tingly feeling increased. I gripped the lower edges of chair tightly. As he clipped the last tuft off, I felt the thigh region being wet.
He the checked my head once, then opened my cape, letting my hair dropping on the floor. I touched my head, I saw through the mirror, I head was covered with stubbles. I paid him, thanked him and went out of the shop.
Priya asked at parking, “Why did you do this with your hair? It looks odd with salwar kameez you are wearing” I said, “it looks odd, not bad, you will understand why I did it when you grow up”